12 Rounds With ... Rolando Romero

The undefeated lightweight talks the talk, walks the walk, and plans to do so again as he faces fellow unbeaten Jackson Marinez in a 135-pound showdown Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

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Romero KOs Figueroa

Undefeated KO artist Rolando “Rolly” Romero isn't shy about telling you how good he is. 

Romero has amassed an 11-0 (10 KOs) record and also become a gym legend of sorts at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, where he trains. The 24-year-old Cuban-American is considered one of the best young talents under the Mayweather Promotions banner. Just how good is he? We’ll find out this Saturday, August 15, as Romero takes on fellow unbeaten prospect Jackson Marinez (19-0, 7 KOs). The bout is part of a Premier Boxing Champions triple-header live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

On the line will be the interim WBA World Lightweight title--and more bragging rights. Romero took time out of his camp to discuss boxing beefs and rivalries, being promoted by Floyd Mayweather and why he believes he’s boxing’s next superstar. 

Where do you rank yourself amongst the top prospects in the sport?

Number one at 135. Everybody in that division doesn’t want anything to do with me, so I have to be number one because they’re all scared of me. I’m the hardest puncher at 135 in the entire world. I might even be the hardest puncher at 140 and 147 in the world. But at 135, that’s a for sure thing. I’m number one.

All the people that are ranked up there have been in the ring with me. The only people that haven’t are [Vasiliy] Lomachenko and Gervonta “Tank” Davis. I’ll be honest with you: I’ll take them both out with no problem. Everybody else at 135, they’re all terrified of me.

Where do you see yourself among the hardest punchers in boxing?

Deontay Wilder, myself and Gennady Golovkin if he were still in his prime. I’m obviously the smallest one out of all the punchers, but my power is going to carry with me wherever I go. It’s just genetics. I knocked people out in the amateurs and in the gym regularly. I literally knock people out at will.

When did you know you were a pure puncher?

The first day I went into boxing. My dad got me into sparring and I didn’t know sh-t about boxing. So this kid, he was national champion…and I stopped him. That put it in my head that I was a puncher. I didn’t even know how to throw punches and I was stopping people.

What other traits do you have that make you special?

I have a really underrated boxing IQ and underrated boxing ability. People don’t realize how fast I am until they get in the ring with me. I’m very explosive. It’s that Tyson effect—he can’t just throw a normal, fast punch—it’s an explosive punch. Same thing with me, and when somebody is hurt, I know how to kill.

What made you start boxing?

My pops had 150 fights in Cuba. He tried to force it on me and I didn’t want to do it. I was being a little punk, straight up. If I would’ve taken boxing as a kid, maybe I wouldn't be where I’m at today. Maybe I would’ve burnt out and not had the same passion for it. I really didn’t have the passion for it until 2014, when I was 19. I never thought I’d do it.

What is it like to be promoted by Floyd Mayweather?

I’m promoted by the clout-king. I mean, anything Floyd says, everybody’s going to do and listen to. He tells me to throw more combinations, he really wants me to box more. Jab more and set things up. But I haven’t really had a chance to show I can box yet. That’ll come when it’s time. Until then I’m just going to knock people out in one round.

I like punching people in the face—as hard as I can. Undefeated Lightweight Prospect - Rolando Romero

What does Floyd say about your talent?

He says I’m one of the hardest hitters in the sport. Just that alone is something to be proud of. Just him taking a liking. I’ll put it like this: Floyd is a very busy man. For him to invest any amount of time, whether it’s giving me some words, doing the mitts or inviting me to the gym to workout with him, that means the world to me because he doesn’t have that amount of time. He’s investing his time in me. 

For the richest fighter and person it the sport to invest his time, when he could be doing anything else, that’s something valuable to me. He believes in me and has very high hopes for me.

Why do you have a knack for having beef with certain fighters?

They have what I want. Simple as that. They have belts, they’re all recognized in the sport and I want to be recognized in the sport as the greatest. The 135 weight class is a hot division, if not the hottest division in boxing right now. The power, the youth, everything great that is coming into the sport is at 135—and I want a piece of all of them. I want to knock them all out.

Is there a seriousness, a fire underneath all of the talk?

If you look at me when I fight, I don’t say one word. Just my face alone when I fight will tell you how I feel about the sport. All that goofiness, all that other stuff—it just disappears. When it’s time to fight, you won’t hear me say one word. You’ll see me just slowly patiently waiting, because I already know what’s going to happen.

I have passion. When you see me in the ring, that’s true passion. I throw every punch with so much love and hatred, that my fights speak for itself. That’s the fire, I love it and I hate it so much that I’m not going to stop until I get what I accomplish. Not just at 135 but at 140 and 147, and maybe even 154 one day.

What do you love about boxing?

I like punching people in the face—as hard as I can.

Who are some fighters you would compare yourself to?

[Roberto] Duran. [Mike] Tyson. [Felix] Trinidad. Prince Naseem Hamed. Floyd—that jab to the body, I stole that from him. To me, Duran is the best inside fighter of all time. I took things from every boxer, even my dad.

Do you think fans will take to your personality?

I have no filter, no matter what I say. Everyone hated me in high school, because I literally said and did whatever I wanted. What are they going to do, fight me? I’ll just beat the hell out of you. Talk sh-t? I’ll just talk more sh-t. What are you going to do, make me look like an idiot? I already make myself look like an idiot. It’s just the confidence that I don’t care. I don’t have to hide myself, I’m not a phony like everybody else. I keep it real with everybody. Even if the truth hurts. 

For a closer look at Rolando Romero, check out his fighter page. 

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